Have you ever seen a flyer about a “Come and See” retreat posted in a church bulletin or received an invitation for a “Come and See” retreat weekend? What has been your first thought or reaction?
“It is not my call!” or
“What does it mean? Which group is it?” or
“Should I go to have some immersion experience?”
No matter what your first response is, two important questions to ask are: “How willing are you to give God a chance to speak to you? Are you willing to give yourself a chance to explore the real life of a religious community?” Attending a Come and See retreat is a memorable experience. If your schedule does not fit the date posted on the Come and See flyer, you can contact a sister and ask for the date of the next upcoming Come and See retreat weekend.
That kind of situation happened to one retreatant recently. In February 2018, I sent an invitation to her for the Come and See retreat weekend in March 2018. After reflection, she wrote back to me: “Thank you for your thoughts & invitation on Come and See….But this time just happens to fall on my bad week. I have Finals that coming week and already have been scheduled for work on that same weekend. If you do have future dates that I can know ahead of time, then I can definitely rearrange. I hope to at least attend a Come & See event one time in my life so I don’t regret it and not using it as an excuse for not hearing God’s call. Please keep me posted.”
This time, she was one of nine retreatants who attended the “Come and See” retreat last weekend at St. Catharine, Kentucky. Before she came, she did not know whether or not religious life was what she wanted to pursue in her life, but she was open to the experience. Then, during the retreat, she shared with me: “It opens my mind and my view of religious life, about which I had a lot of mistaken ideas. There was much for me to learn.”
In this retreat, she had many chances to interact with sisters and retreatants. She went to the hay ride with us and visited the historical St. Rose church and the original place where the first Dominican Sisters in the USA were called, lived, and began ministries almost 200 years ago. She also played games and ate with the retreatants and Sisters, laughed through jokes, and listened to the sharing of stories from both the Sisters who are in different stages of religious life as well as the sisters who live at the Motherhouse.
She experienced different kinds of prayers, had time for personal reflection and more. At the end, when I asked her how the retreat was and how she felt, she stated “Great! Awesome! Inspired!” to me in front of the video camera with her big smile. I can tell her real inspiration through her eyes and her conversation with Sisters. I don’t know what her vocational choice will be, but at least she was open to exploring this opportunity and the journey still continues. How about you?
For more news and pictures about our September retreat in Kentucky, visit our Vocations Facebook page. And, be sure to mark your calendar now for our March 2019 Come and See weekend retreat. The specific date and location for this retreat will be posted soon on our Facebook page. In the meantime, contact one of our Vocation Ministers to talk about a religious call and to learn more about our community.